pink gingham memories

At someone’s white clean grownup-already house in the morning, they had all the supplies. Coolers and water jugs and beer beer beer (I never liked beer) and blankets and sunblock and I had my tiny pink gingham sundress, so short I couldn’t bend forward or move much. I had my dress and my sandals with my cash and driver’s license tucked into my bra.

We went in their cars, I don’t remember who they were or how I got there or if they are people I still know now.

Hours before the show started let’s get a good spot, we’ll get a nice good spot that’s not too crowded but where we can see the stage. Lots of clusters of people in the dusty dirt parking lot grass field.

Soul Coughing was why I came, or maybe Matthew Sweet. The Spin Doctors were there, too, and I was cool enough to hate them but was still me enough to like the Two Princes song because it was catchy bouncy dance-y good to sing with.

The group near us I don’t remember much either, but there was a small man without much hair on his head wearing beady sunglasses and brown skin and a leather vest with fringe and he sat in a low sun chair next to a blanket and his friend or friends talked and he just looked at me.

The music was going had been going for a long time when I put the little piece of paper the size of my fingernail or thumbnail on my tongue melting fuzzy on my tongue. When I said, yes, let’s and we went up to the crowd in front by the stage and someone picked me up and I was being tossed around and I didn’t like how many hands were grabbing squeezing hard my breasts and ass and I got down quickly and I hated it hated it it was not fun and I laughed and laughed and smiled because it was always okay nothing bothered me no it was ha ha ha but I wanted to get out of there now.

On the dark streets of DC long after the concert was over in Northeast maybe, or Capitol Hill or I’m not sure but it surely wasn’t Dupont or Adams Morgan and I didn’t recognize anything and I think I must be still tripping because I don’t know why this car bumper shimmering in the street light looks like it’s ocean waves hello who are you? Oh my god it’s you from high school? Do you live here? Do you recognize me? Who are you? Can you hear me talking? I am so cute? What? Yes okay yes, here is my number, it is so weird we met here at this time can you help me get home?

The florescent lights of the office seem dull but I’m back at my desk and I’m showered and it’s been two days since the show and coming back from such an event isn’t too hard on a 20-something if I drink a lot of water a lot of water. I’m doing my job. The front desk buzzes, I pick up. There’s a man in the front who wants to see me. I ask who he is. She tells me his name and I have no idea who it is. I tell her I’m sorry I’m busy please have him leave his card I will get back to him. She comes back to my office in a few minutes and gives me his card a beautiful business card with an irregular shape and hand written text. I don’t recognize his name. She describes him and I get a picture a quick picture a strange sunburning feeling and I feel puzzled.

The next day the front desk buzzes and it’s him again and this time I come to the front and say hello and yes it is the small man with the balding brown head and leather fringed vest and he looks at me looks at me looks at me like he is going to eat me pounce on me devour me and I say why hello, wow, you are here! as if I’m not all that surprised but that I’m surprised and he grins with beady rat eyes and says yes I am you told me you worked here and I said well that’s so great I have to get back to work though and he says I have a gift for you I want to give it to you should I bring it to your apartment later? And the gift he gives me at the front door of my apartment hours later is hand-made paper boxes inside boxes inside boxes and it is stunning and beautiful and full of time and concentration and care and effort to assemble and talent and art and I am so afraid. His rat eyes and his drooling hungry mouth face and his slow heavy breathing and his looking at me like I can do no wrong.

It’s time for you to go now I say before I open the front door thank you very much I appreciate it it’s beautiful and now it’s time for you to go how did you know I lived here nevermind thank you I will talk to you later. When? When. I will talk to you another time. No I don’t want your number no thank you thank you for the gift it was really nice thank you no.

The things I write here and think here and feel here are the things that come from inside me where my memory courage hides.

circuitous

What I want to discuss now is something I can’t discuss with you. It’s not possible for me to explain what I have to say or what I’m thinking about. Everything I’m going to share, I won’t.

At the beginning we set certain patterns. I did this, you did that. We paved those paths from our past. That’s a lot of alliteration. Paved paths past. P-fooey.

We were who we wanted to be and became who we are while we lost ourselves.

If we started with a + b = c and ended with a + b = zed, what do we do? Will replacing a or b bring back c? Do we need c? Certainly zed is out of the question. For me zedzeronothingnone, I will not tolerate zed. Will you?

How childish and spoiled. Me. Without proper attention I wander and find paths and forests and dark caves with dripping stalactites and waiting stalagmites.

Need. Want. Need. Need. Need. The edge.

The storm smashes everything without touching me or you or us. We dissolve slowly. Crawling and begging and scraping my knees, searching.

Lay that stone there, and that stone there. They’ll lock tight, like the arch’s keystone. We have that. That. We promised and we have that. Family.

The moss is growing on the fallen tree and underneath that moist rotting wood turns to soil. Rich. The smell of cool, the smell of coolness and water and life. I love to grab a handful of the crumbling soil earth wood, let the bugs scatter, then pulverize it to powder. Moist and shallow, only specks left on my fingers. Dust.

I can’t go on like this.

Of course I can. Go on like this. I do. I will. Am. Are. Will. Willing.

Impatience was a word I chose in “choose four words to describe yourself.” Impatient. Passionate. Loving. Strong. Me, in four words.

Starring on the main stage, all lights are on me. Suddenly it’s dark. Silent.

Recently I read some writing by a crazy person. Perhaps his voice has seeped in. When I read people too long I start sounding like them. I sounded like a different him over there, and sometimes I sound like that him over here. Do I sound like her? Do I take on her voice? Sometimes. Those voices are not so distinct, so catching or fetching or compelling. Perhaps another reading of The Yellow Wallpaper has come due.

What I want to say, I can not say. I’ve said it again and again. Over and again. The words come out over here and over there and sometimes I hear them but usually I don’t. I’m saying them but I don’t want to hear. I’m not avoiding properly sufficiently the verb “to be,” though that was one of the greatest writing advice bits I’ve ever received. To be is a killer. Stories and thoughts and language all suffer when to be smatters it all like bird shit on the windshield.

But I believe we can have everything. It all. We can have it all. Can. Can. Can.

And the cost? Getting it all giving it all means losing it all.

No.

When he stops shining that light on me and the darkness strands me with the truth and there’s nothing I can do to hide, that’s when Something Else Happens.

Inside the girl is crying, why did you leave me? Why did you go? How could you be here and be here and be here and lavish me with all this attention and then disappear and pull away and leave me leave me leave me?

Of course, the girl is wrong. Wrong or right makes no difference to the girl. The girl only wants you back.

You aren’t gone, you haven’t left. He did. He left. He left and no one cared and no one helped and all I wanted was to feel so special again.

And that’s why therapists have couches.